Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stereotypes and Race: In Other News . . .

Since this blog is about climbing, culture, cheese, and connections to professional development, it's time to write about . . . climbing!  Climbing has gone through its usual ups and downs with my unruly schedule and commitment to other sports, like running and skiing and kids.  It takes a climbing trip in my future to get me into the groove of training, and it's not just one trip but two.  Hooray!  I'll be in Arkansas late March and El Paso late April.   Yesterday was double coupon day that started with a 90 minute run and then a few hours of bouldering.  I felt so thankful!

On the "what's happening in WI" cheese line, today was John-Pio's birthday party.  He officially turns 8 tomorrow which is always a bittersweet time of year.  Brad's mom died unexpectedly 8 years ago just a day before John-Pio came 6 weeks unexpectedly, too.  I often imagine the two of them passing each other in the deepest part of John-Pio's sleep.  That's a comforting thought.  So a bunch of kids came over (practically his entire class) and they decorated cupcakes, made art, played Star Wars, and read books.  That 90 minutes went slower than yesterday's 90 minute run.  Anyway, John-Pio will be 8 tomorrow and he doesn't have a care in the world, which is how it should be when you're a kid with a one-track mind that begins with the letter P.

P for Play.

In other news . . .

Well, okay I am not going to sit on this any longer.  I have to get it out.  As we were going through Misa's Friday folder and re-capping the week she told me she took a survey about bullying in her computer class last week.  The teacher in-charge was helping kids fill out the personal information part and asked if everyone knew what "ethnicity/race" meant and she proceeded to go through the choices:

African American
Native American
More than one race

Most kids in her class, including Misa, had never taken an online survey like that before so Misa raised her hand to ask a question.  And before she could even ask it, the computer teacher "thought she knew what I was going to ask" because she said, "And if you're Asian and White, check the 'more than one race' box."  Here's the rest of the conversation as retold by Misa (teacher in italics):

"I'm not just White.  I'm also Chamorro."
Okay then check Asian.
"Chamorros are from Guam."
So you're not Asian? 
No, I'm Chamorro.
Just check one or the other, or check 'more than one race.' This part isn't that big of a deal anyway.

That last comment was more frustrating to Misa than the effort it took to get her to understand that Guam is not in Asia, and she's not Asian.  And besides that, it had nothing to do with the question Misa was going to ask in the first place!  I was laughing inside and holding my head very still straining my neck muscles to keep from shaking my head all the while internally scolding that teacher.  Misa just sighed and asked, "If it wasn't a big deal, why do they even ask what our race/ethnicity is anyway?"

Good question, Misa.  Good question . . . 

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